Have you noticed how communication has changed in churches? From social media to email newsletters – the church community has embraced technology to share their message to believers far and wide.
And it’s working! Today, people rely on technology to communicate, especially digital media. Can you even imagine a time before email? Don’t worry, I’ll wait 😉
What we’re covering in this post:
- Changing communication in church
- Church email newsletter examples
- Best & bad practices
- Get a Newsletter newsletter templates
- How often to send church email newsletters?
Communication is changing in church
Today, churches have websites, apps, YouTube channels, TV channels, blogs, social media media pages, crowdfunding pages and more. They use these tools to enable community and reach people. We even use Bible apps on our phones and get emails with reading plans. I mean, you have to admit that technology + church = amazing!
Up until a few years ago, we would go to church, hear the message and all the events happening in church and go home. The following week, same thing.
Then I got a newsletter from my church. It just made so much sense – it’s a convenient way of letting people know what’s happening in church, even more so than social media where stuff can get lost in your feed.
Let’s look at some real church email newsletters 😉
Example 1: Celebration Church
This newsletter has a video embedded in it, how cool is that? It also has a recap of a blog article with scripture for easy reference. In the third square, there are links to the church website and finally, the newsletter has all the contact information of the church.
Example 2: First Christian Church
At First Christian Church, there’s a lot of events and news to share with church members so on the first page of their newsletter, they use a table of contents to outline everything in that’s in the newsletter. They have a section for prayer requests and upcoming events, with a nice layout that’s easy to read. The graphics and colors really jump out and grabs your attention, which is exactly what you want!
Example 3: Renaissance Church
This design is minimalist but beautiful, the white background makes the photographs stand out. It’s not text-heavy but instead, it uses links to direct reader to their website and social media for more information. It also has the social media handles at the bottom along with a banner showing service times and the address.
Example 4: First Baptist Church Alexandria
Definitely the most colorful out of the examples, this newsletter has lots of graphics and images. Instead of writing paragraphs of news and events, they include links in every graphic redirecting the reader to their website. By doing this, they increase traffic to their website and cut down on the traditional text-heavy formats of email newsletters.
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Church email newsletters 👉 Best & Bad practices
It’s exciting to start thinking of what you’re gonna put in the church newsletter and imagining layouts and fonts..but before you dive right in and start selecting templates, let’s look at what to do and what NOT to do.
Here’s some best practices:
✔ Recap sermons
Use your church newsletter to share a summary of a sermon series or special service, like Easter or Christmas services. You can include the bible verse, the main takeaway and mention the pastor. This works well if you have a multi-campus church with different sermon series. It’s also nice as a feature for guest speakers in the church
✔ Include interesting content
Give people something you haven’t said elsewhere. Like an exclusive feature of the new pastor or the latest news on the outreach ministry. Include prayer requests, praise reports, anniversaries or birthdays and birth announcements. Content that is personable and interesting will make people want to read your church newsletters.
✔ Decide with a layout and stick with it
Use the same template for every newsletter, don’t confuse people. If you have special features like a member of the worship team on the last page of the newsletter, it should be in the same place for every newsletter. If the announcement is on the first page, keep it there. Keeping the layout consistent means people know where to find the information, every single time.
✔ Link to the church websites/social media
Give people more than what they ask for, they don’t *have* to click on the link but in case they want to, at least it’s there. You can include website links, it works well if you are promoting a specific event and you have a landing page for that, but also links to social media pages and blogs. Links are also great as a replacement for the ‘contact information’ section – save space and include links in the footer.
✔ Be selective of what you include
You can’t include everything in a newsletter so choose the most important info that people will want to read. That said, the information should be relevant to the church community. You might want to include community events, like a charity drive for the homeless. But decide against promoting a candidate for local elections (yes, this has happened!).
✔ Be consistent
Decide how often you want to send out church newsletters and commit to it. By skipping a newsletter, you have the trouble of having to jam everything into the next newsletter and risk people missing dates of upcoming events etc.
✔ Use multiple newsletters
I know you’re thinking: I already get so many emails! But let me explain. It makes sense to use multiple newsletters if:
👉 you have lots of ministries – send separate newsletters to each ministry e.g. youth ministry, women’s ministry, young adult ministry
👉 you are a big/multi-campus church – so you can have one newsletter for announcements and events, one for sermon recaps and pastor features, one newsletter for each campus of the church.
You definitely don’t want to:
❌ Choose landscape
Landscape is not the most mobile-friendly layout, you end up having to scroll across the screen to read the newsletter. Landscape only really works on laptop/desktop. The portrait layout looks good on all devices.
❌ Jam too much in the newsletter
Latching on to the point of being selective of what you include in your church newsletters, don’t overload people with information in a single newsletter. It just ends up making the newsletter super long, like six pages long. If you send quarterly newsletters, six pages might be ok but most churches send weekly or monthly newsletters. To avoid information overload, link out to your church’s other platforms where people can find events/news not included in the newsletters.
❌ Use photos without permission
You should definitely use photos in your newsletters. But you should have a disclaimer on your church membership form asking people to give their permission. People are especially sensitive about using photos of children, so you should respect their wishes. As a rule, don’t use photos of visitors/guests unless it’s a guest preacher and you’ve asked permission.
❌ Include controversial topics
The church newsletter is not the place to voice your personal opinion or engage in political debates. It’s definitely not the place to promote political candidates, even if they are members of your church. So stay away from offensive content, it’s not a good look for your church.
❌ Share testimonies without asking
Testimonies are a great way of including personable content. People love hearing other people’s stories. But imagine you open the church newsletter and read the testimony you shared with your life group. Always ask permission before you include testimonies because people might not be comfortable with the entire church knowing about a personal struggle.
Examples of Getanewsletter templates
Getanewsletter has ready-to-use templates which makes designing a newsletter so much easier. Templates can be edited, to add more text blocks or more photographs. This newsletter is sent out to the entire church, so it has general information and appeals. In this example, there’s call-to-action (CTA) buttons with links to the church website.
This example has a banner, inserted as an image into the Getanewsletter template. It is for the youth ministry in the church, so instead of text, we opted for images to make it more attractive. The CTA’s direct the reader to sign up pages on the website if they want to get involved in activities.
Here, I wanted to show how to do announcements and birthdays with photographs, keeping the text short. At the bottom, we have icons for social media and the website with links embedded.
If you’re looking for content ideas for your church email newsletters, here are 12:
The golden rule for content in newsletters is simply to not add too much at once. Because you’re probably gonna have to plan your church newsletters in advance, you’ll have a good idea of what to include when. Some content ideas can be in every newsletter e.g. the message from the pastor or sermon recap. But some can be a spontaneous feature e.g worship song playlist.
- Sermon Recap – give a quick summary of the month’s Sunday services
- Testimony Corner – share testimonies of members
- Member feature – feature members, pastors and leaders
- A message from the pastor – a motivational message from the lead pastor
- Inspirational quotes – from people inside and outside the church
- Bible study – reading plans per book in the Bible
- Announcements – news, upcoming events and special services
- Worship songs – create a bullet point playlist with a link to the song
- Scripture of the month – following the theme/sermon series of the month
- Intro to new month’s sermon series – quick intro of the theme/scriptures
- Outreach updates – community outreach events/appeals
- Prayer requests & praise reports – for the church or individual members
How often should you send a church email newsletter?
There’s lots of research on the topic and many people will tell you ‘it depends’. But on what exactly? We are bombarded with emails every day and getting newsletters too frequently leads to people unsubscribing. You don’t want that to happen.
Getanewsletter has features that helps you create and send newsletters like:
- Custom templates to use
- Photobank where you can save your images that you want to insert
- Mailing lists that’s easy to update
- Mobile and desktop friendly layout for newsletters
- Scheduling tool to send your newsletters
- Prices based on how many contacts you have in your mailing list
- An awesome blog with the latest news on everything about newsletters
Talking to people who are in charge of newsletters for their church, I learnt that some churches send weekly newsletters and some monthly. Others opt for quarterly, that is every three months.
How often you send newsletters depend on:
- How much news you have to share – if you are a multi-campus church you might have a lot going on. Events happening at your different locations and so on. Here you can definitely send a weekly newsletter. Because you have more than one campus, you can compile the week’s news and events into one newsletter and use GAN to schedule it to be sent to your mailing list.
- How big your congregation is – big churches =lots of members. If you take the example of international churches, how can they communicate effectively and consistently with people across the world? They use weekly newsletters, sometimes two to three newsletters a week because they have to translate content.
- How many staff you have – you might want to send out weekly newsletters but you only have one person working on it. So you settle for a monthly or quarterly newsletter because it is manageable. You have to think about who’s doing the work and be reasonable about what can be done.
- How much content you want to include – Sending weekly text-heavy newsletters is a lot of work, someone has to write everything. But a weekly newsletter with minimal text and more links to the church website and social media pages might be a good compromise. If you want to include lots of different content, you might send the newsletter every month or quarter to allow enough time to plan the layout of the newsletter.